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The Fatal Four on Construction Sites

By Butler Prather LLP on September 13, 2021

Those who work in construction face risks every day. In fact, workplace safety data from the US government shows that approximately one out of every five worker deaths each year in this country revolves around the construction industry. Here, we want to look at what has been termed the “Fatal Four” for construction sites. That is, we will examine the four most hazardous fatal conditions that arise at construction sites in Georgia and throughout the US.

The Fatal Four on Construction Sites

What Are The Fatal Four And How Are They Prevented?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has partnered with employers, safety professionals, and health officials for decades to help establish safe and healthy workplaces throughout every industry. This includes the construction industry. Even though construction injuries and fatalities have decreased substantially over the years, this is still one of the most dangerous industries in the country.

OSHA has released a list of the most common causes of workplace deaths in the construction industry, and this has typically been called the “Fatal Four.” Here, we want to discuss the fatal four as well as how construction supervisors and workers can prevent these injuries and deaths from occurring:

  1. Falls. Falls in the construction industry can occur on the same level or from one level to another. In order to prevent fall injuries from occurring, it is essential for workers and supervisors to:
      • Wear and use personal fall arrest equipment
      • Install and maintain perimeter protection
      • Cover and secure any openings in the floor
      Use ladders and scaffolding correctly and safely
  2. Struck by Object. There are many heavy pieces of equipment and vehicles used in construction workplaces. In order to prevent getting struck by heavy objects, workers should:
      • Never position themselves between moving or fixed objects
      Wear high visibility clothing near equipment and vehicles
  3. Electrocutions. Any type of electricity that is exposed can lead to significant injuries for construction workers. In order to prevent electrocution injuries on the job, it is imperative that workers:
      • Locate and identify utilities before beginning work
      • Check for overhead power lines when operating any equipment
      • Maintain a safe distance from power lines
      • Do not operate portable electric tools unless they are grounded and double insulated
      • Use ground fault circuit interrupters
      Be aware of electrical hazards when working on ladders, scaffolding, or platforms
  4. Caught Between Objects.
    When there are heavy objects, tools, or vehicles present at a construction site, workers can get stuck in between these objects if they are not careful. This can lead to significant crush injuries. Preventing these injuries can be done by:

      • Never entering an unprotected trench or excavation area without an adequate protective system in place
      Never going near moving equipment unless specifically authorized and trained to do so

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